From the director of The Hills Have Eyes remake and the writers of Sorority Row comes Piranha 3D, a sequel to a largely forgotten late-70s franchise. Not that the series has any sort of continuity to it. In fact, for all I know this isn’t even supposed to be the third in the series, it could be a remake. But let’s face it: that really doesn’t matter. No, the only question we need to ask our selves when facing Piranha 3D is whether the ‘h’ comes before or after the ‘n.’ Let me get the poster. After. Knew it. So where do we go from here? I guess we’ve got to find out if campy B-movie garbage goes well with cutting-edge technology.
So there is kind of a story here. Elisabeth Shue is this sheriff mom who works on Lake Victoria, in Arizona. An underwater cave is accidentally opened up and an ancient species of piranha are unleashed, just in time for spring break! Meanwhile, her son (played by another person named Steve McQueen) gets caught up helping some really creepy Girls Gone Wild people. And her younger two kids get in trouble too. Will she be able to get the kids, as well as all the spring break morons, out of the lake in time? No. No she won’t.
This movie seems to aspire to be the Jaws of the 3D era. I mean, look at that poster. It seemed like it was really going in that direction when it opened with Richard Dreyfuss (playing another character named Matt) dies horrifically. But then Piranha 3D gets sidetracked. It gets sidetracked by boobs. After a thoroughly disgusting opening, I guess the filmmakers felt we needed to be distracted. So they throw scene after scene of girls taking their tops off in your face (since, you know… 3D. It’s like you’re there!). There’s even a scene that I swear goes on for at least a minute of two (I assume) porn stars swimming under a glass-bottomed boat. How do they hold their breaths for so long?
Then, after probably too long, things take a turn. A parachuting porn star looses her lower body to the school of prehistoric piranha. The hunt is on, and there’s plenty of prey. After trying its best to coax a boner out of you, the movie immediately makes you feel weird about it with a lengthy montage of terrible, terrible deaths. People are ripped in half, crushed, and reduced to bone. The movie gets pretty damn gruesome, even going as far as to show the consumption of a dismembered penis.
And that’s about it, really. This is a cheesy B-movie. Of course there’s a lot of nudity. Of course there’s a lot of violence. Of course actors like Jerry O’Connell and Christopher Lloyd ham it up. Of course the rest of the acting sucks and you just want everybody to die. You know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a ticket for Piranha 3D. I respect it for that, at the very least. It’s plenty stupid, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
My only real problem with the movie is that I don’t see what being in 3D added to it. The 3D was executed well, but I don’t think it added anything to the experience but novelty. When I saw Avatar, I was blown away by how immersive the 3D made the world of Pandora. When I saw How to Train Your Dragon, I felt the 3D made the action sequences more riveting. When I saw Piranha 3D, well, I thought it was hard to read the opening credits. I guess that doesn’t bode well for Jackass 3D.